Review Article

A Comprehensive Review of Thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery: Techniques Evaluation

[+] Author and Article Information
Esmail M. A. Mokheimer

Mechanical Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia;
Center of Research Excellence
in Energy Efficiency (CEEE),
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia;
Center of Research Excellence in
Renewable Energy (CoRe-RE),
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: esmailm@kfupm.edu.sa

M. Hamdy

Mechanical Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mhamdy@kfupm.edu.sa

Zubairu Abubakar

Mechanical Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 677,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: Zubairu@kfupm.edu.sa

Mohammad Raghib Shakeel

Mechanical Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 567,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: raghib@kfupm.edu.sa

Mohamed A. Habib

Mechanical Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 1866,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mahabib@kfupm.edu.sa

Mohamed Mahmoud

Petroleum Engineering Department,
College of Petroleum
Engineering & Geosciences,
King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 5049,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia;
Center for Integrative Petroleum Research,
College of Petroleum
Engineering & Geosciences,
King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM),
P. O. Box: 5049,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mamahmoud@kfupm.edu.sa

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 12, 2018; final manuscript received July 21, 2018; published online September 14, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Reza Sheikhi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(3), 030801 (Sep 14, 2018) (18 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1520; doi: 10.1115/1.4041096 History: Received July 12, 2018; Revised July 21, 2018

The oil production from any well passes through three stages. The first stage is the natural extraction of oil under the well pressure, the second stage starts when the well pressure decreases. This second stage includes flooding the well with water via pumping sea or brackish water to increase the well pressure and push the oil up enhancing the oil recovery. After the first and secondary stages of oil production from the well, 20–30% of the well reserve is extracted. The well is said to be depleted while more than 70% of the oil are left over. At this stage, the third stage starts and it is called the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or tertiary recovery. Enhanced oil recovery is a technology deployed to recover most of our finite crude oil deposit. With constant increase in energy demands, EOR will go a long way in extracting crude oil reserve while achieving huge economic benefits. EOR involves thermal and/or nonthermal means of changing the properties of crude oil in reservoirs, such as density and viscosity that ensures improved oil displacement in the reservoir and consequently better recovery. Thermal EOR, which is the focus of this paper, is considered the dominant technique among all different methods of EOR. In this paper, we present a brief overview of EOR classification in terms of thermal and nonthermal methods. Furthermore, a comprehensive review of different thermal EOR methods is presented and discussed.

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Fig. 1

(a) Worldwide EOR market contribution through 7 years (adapted from [5]) and (b) EOR forecast in the Middle East up to 2050 (adapted from [6])

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Fig. 2

Kinematic viscosity of gas-free oils as a function of temperature (adapted from [11])

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Fig. 3

Nonthermal-enhanced oil recovery technologies [7]

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Fig. 4

Ratio of different EOR methods used in projects around the world [12]

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Fig. 5

Thermal EOR processes

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Fig. 6

Schematic illustration of CSS

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Fig. 7

Schematic illustration of steam flooding process

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Fig. 8

Schematic illustration of SAGD process

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Fig. 9

Schematic diagram of the hybrid solar thermal EOR system with oxy-fuel combustor, Patent number 9845667B2, Dec. 19, 2017 [83]

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Fig. 10

Schematic illustration of in situ combustion process

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Fig. 11

Schematic diagram for a solar-assisted EOR System [107]

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Fig. 12

In situ combustion schematic temperature profile (adapted from Ref. [96])



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